Longtime Dietary Fat Advice Unsupported by Data: Analysis

Did the national dietary guidelines overreach when they recommended cutting dietary fat consumption to less than 30% and saturated-fat intake to less than 10% of daily energy intake? A new review suggests they did, with investigators reporting that not a single randomized, controlled clinical trial backed the advice when the recommendations were issued in 1977 in the US and in 1983 in the UK[1].

Given the absence of evidence, the investigators say their review concludes that the present dietary advice, which currently recommends Americans keep saturated fat to 5% to 6% of daily calories, needs more than an overhaul. In fact, they believe the dietary fat recommendations should never have been introduced in the first place.

“When you tell people to lower saturated fat—protein typically stays the same, we get about 15% to 20% of our calories from protein—they inherently increase the consumption of unsaturated fats, particularly the omega-6 fats found in vegetable oils, and carbohydrates,” senior investigator Dr James DiNicolantonio (St Luke’s Mid America Heart Institute, Kansas City, MO) told heartwire . Such a substitution, he said, ends up doing more harm than good.

via Longtime Dietary Fat Advice Unsupported by Data: Analysis.


  1. Any guesses as to why it takes 40 years to admit this mistake. It certainly has been suspect and known for a long time that these recommendations were based on flawed and incomplete data. So why the delay in reversing them? Follow the power and influence and the agenda behind them, and you’ve got your answer. The book writers, speakers, academics and policy gurus would have been out of work if we announced the – “whoops, my bad” – too soon. Now most of the ones that pushed this are dead or retired. Now it is safe to move on. Lesson: don’t trust government recommendation, or any self-appointed expert for that matter. Do your own research and when all else fails, use your common sense.


  2. I think this is indicative as to why we should not trust anything these so called experts, policy makers or ideologists with an agenda. Climate Change formerly know as Global Warming comes to mind, Affordable (laughing) Care Act comes to mind, HMO, Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security come to mind. But I guess when the masses you are trying to influence or fleece are to ignorant to pay attention to what is happening to them, why stop lying to them. By the way this study spawned and entire multi billion dollar a year industry, “low fat foods”


  3. There are a lot of confounding data out there and I believe we are close to sorting it out based on the interplay between inflammatory mediators and endothelial damage and how it interacts with the “repair response” – which seems to go in different directions depending on which LPs are circulating and what those LPs are composed of. But one thing continues to re-surface; the whole lipid hypothesis as the common denominator of CAD is flawed. We know statistically that only about 12 – 15% of CV events can be predicted based on LDL levels. We also know that statins can raise atherogenic lower density LDL but yet can lower CV event rates, seemingly because they lower particle number so much. Bottom line, we haven’t found the root cause just yet but it is clearly not dietary cholesterol or the so-called healthy fats. For those that still cling to Ancel Key’s lipid hypothesis, you should look at all the data points from the other countries that he left out of his famous paper. Also one more good paper on the subject.


  4. I believe that if one limits calories, specifically lower carbohydrate diet which keeps insulin levels in check thus body weight ideal, and eats healthy fats such as omega-3 and some others, and limits inflammatory stimulation caused by too much modern grain AND gets the body moving with enough exercise – that is just about the best we can do to prevent CV disease.


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